British Airways Cabin Crew have voiced their fears of catching the virus as it was revealed two baggage handlers at Heathrow have been struck down with the disease and the airplanes are only “deep cleaned” once a month.
In fact, jets are only deep-cleaned monthly with some just getting a ‘quick wipe’ before jetting off again. A BA crew member, who asked not to be named, said: ‘They’re given a basic clean by cleaners who use the same cloths to wipe down galleys and surfaces.
“A plane comes from Hong Kong, it gets a quick wipe and then it goes straight to New York.”
‘Cabin crew get a small bottle of hand sanitizer. If someone was to show symptoms there are masks, but you’re in a confined space at 40,000ft, so it won’t do much good.
‘Everybody has raised concerns. But you can’t do anything about it. You can’t refuse to do any flights.’
Yesterday, two baggage handlers at Terminal 5 of London’s Heathrow Airport tested positive for the killer infection raising fears that the virus – that has infected 164 people in Britain and killed two – could have passed onto passengers’ luggage, where it could survive for up to three days.
A BA spokesman said every aircraft was given a ‘regular clean’ after every short-haul flight and a thorough one each evening.
Long-haul flights get a thorough clean after every flight, including seats, seat pockets, tray tables, galleys, toilets, floors, the aircraft interior, and surfaces generally.
Monthly deep-cleans of all aircraft return them to a ‘like new’ standard and involve everything from ceilings to air vents.
Heathrow has introduced a strict hygiene regime since the outbreak of coronavirus in January and staff have been cleaning baggage carousels regularly.
A spokesman said baggage handlers working for all airlines had been given gloves, masks, and hand sanitizers, as well as lessons in good hand hygiene.
The UK’s chief scientific adviser confirmed that the virus is spreading uncontrollably between people inside Britain. Sir Patrick Vallance admitted: ‘This is the start of an outbreak clearly… we can expect more cases.’